Do you think that your life has a purpose?
Do you believe that it should?
What is it you are meant to be doing
with this tangle of light and shadow that is you?
I asked the gods
(there were three on this occasion)
if it was enough to just live.
One of them began to sob.
One of them – I kid you not –
got down on their knees and began to pray.
And the last one it seemed
was struggling to contain their laughter.
As I was leaving, this god, now in fits of giggles,
caught up with me, gesturing to the wide doors
that led outside, ‘Yes! Of course yes! But my friend,
what do you think that living is?’
Once you have the right question
you might discover that you already have the answer.
To live is enough.
Every living thing except the human being
will tell you this.
The angels are not writing an evaluation,
they are simply gazing (a little awestruck)
into your face, waiting for your eyes
to widen in wonder,
your mouth to arise into a smile,
your cheek to be blessed with tears.
Do you understand?
If I am to do one thing it must be this:
to teach you that the earth is a gift
to be be joyfully and solemnly received,
and that you yourself are a gift
to be joyfully and solemnly given.
Life – yes, the life that you so crave –
is this simple, this gentle exchange.
I walk beneath the trees,
oak and ash and beech,
each one content (and nothing could convince me otherwise)
with both its uniqueness
and its utter reliance on all that is not itself.
Scientists tell us that the tips of their roots intertwine
with the thin halls of fungus
that cross the soil, sharing nutrients and information
and who knows what else
with the greater web of life.
A prophet could not have said it better.
Do you think you are self-sufficient?
Do you think you are self-made?
Do you think you can do it on your own?
The air would beg to differ, as would the flesh
of the plants, and the animals.
Let us speak then – and without cynicism – of love.
Let us give thanks that we are not alone.
Let us know it deeply.
The sun and the rain and the soil give life.
The world offers freely its beauty and delight.
Tell me, friend,
have you loved today?
Have you set the fruits of the earth upon your plate
and made a proclamation of grace?
Have you let your body know that it is real,
have you moved it through the gorgeous world
of which it is a gorgeous part?
Is life enough? Are you?
When we are not bothering the gods
with our search for answers
they are dancing.